Fighting the menace of black money stashed abroad, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said India has gathered independent evidence about its citizens having unaccounted money in Swiss banks and Switzerland has offered full co-operation in sharing of information in this regard.
Jaitley, who met his Swiss counterpart Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf for about 40 minutes late last night, said Switzerland has agreed to act expeditiously on such cases.
To curb the black money problem, Jaitley said that India would be entering into bilateral pacts with Switzerland and other countries for automatic exchange of tax information.
“Now we do have independent evidence and material available. So, now we have to come back to Switzerland with that material on the basis of which we can get (the information),” the Finance Minister said after meeting his Swiss counterpart.
According to Jaitley, Switzerland has assured that on the basis of such independent information “they will cooperate”.
Jaitley said the global community is moving towards automatic exchange of information.
Switzerland has agreed to share information expeditiously on black money cases where independent evidence is furnished, he said.
About the meeting with his Swiss counterpart, Jaitley said they discussed about the parameters based on which Switzerland can provide details on unaccounted money parked in Swiss bank accounts once independent evidence is furnished.
In October last year, both countries had inked a joint statement of understanding with regard to cooperation on tax matters. However, Switzerland has a clear position that information based on stolen data would not be shared with another country but such requests would be looked into in case of independent evidence on the same being made available.
In continuation with that agreement, Jaitley said he had a detailed meeting with the Swiss delegation as to what could be the parameters of that independent evidence.
“Of course, our tax officials are working round the clock. They are trying to finish all the assessments and they are trying to collect evidence. Several people in that list have already admitted to the fact that they had accounts.
“Now we do have independent evidence and material available. So, now we have to come back to Switzerland with that material on the basis of which we can get (the information),” the Finance Minister said.
As part of efforts to repatriate illicit wealth stashed by its citizens abroad, India has been in discussions with Switzerland and other countries.
“Switzerland has decided to become an early bird to join that grouping. There were some issues related to India due to the Supreme Court. Now I think that has been resolved and we are also moving in the direction of joining that group.
“Once both of us join that group, then we are supposed to join in a bilateral agreement with regard to automatic exchange of tax information. Once we do such bilaterals with various countries, I think that would be the long term solution to check this menace,” Jaitley said.